How to make handmade wooden jewelry with simple tools

If you have ever bought a ready made canvas frame, you should have noticed that it normally comes with a pack of wooden stretcher keys. I had a couple of those little bags, that I didn't need to use as stretchers. These keys are made of balsa wood, which is soft and easy to cut. Since I hate throwing away any kind of material, I thought I should use them to create something.

Last week I made some earrings using cork and thread and I really enjoyed the process and the result. I decided to keep working on some handmade jewelry ideas, this time upcycling these little pieces of wood.


Handmade wooden pendant

Handmade wooden jewelry
Handmade wooden foc earrings
If you don't have canvas stretcher keys, you can buy a sheet of balsa wood, about 0,3 mm thick. I'm sure the result will be even better. To cut, smooth and paint the wood I've used simple tools I have at home: a ruler, a cutter, a nail file, a small screwdriver and round nose pliers. I've also used some jump rings, earring hooks or base metal rings, depending each time on the type of jewelry I wanted to make. For painting the wood, I've mixed watercolor with a bit of gouache, to limit the transparency but keep the wood texture.


Stretch keys attached to ready made canvas

Canvas stretch keys made of balsa wood


Make your own handmade wooden jewelry with simple tools





First, make some rough sketches of your design. The possibilities are unlimited. Here are a few sketches I made for my little foxes earrings.

Make some rough sketches of your jewelry design

If you find it difficult to come up with an original idea, a good way is to start with some geometrical forms. The result can be really nice and minimal. For example, I will show you how I made this simple earrings design, step-by-step.

Handmade wooden geometrical earrings

Once you've decided the design of your earring, use the ruler and a pencil to draw the form on the wood surface.

Draw the form on the wood


Use the ruler and a cutter to start cutting the pieces. You will need many repetitions with little pressure, to cut it without breaking the wood.

Cut the wood into the desired form


Wood pieces for handmade earrings






 Use a nail file to smooth the sides and the surface.

Use a nail file to smooth the sides and the surface

With a pencil mark the point where you want to attach the earring hooks. Use a thin screwdriver to make the hole. Place the hole close to the edge to allow the jump ring to enter, but not too close to avoid breaking the wood. While making the hole avoid pressing too hard.

Mark the point where you want to attach the earring hooks

Use a thin screwdriver to make the holes

Use a thin screwdriver to make the holes

Use a thin screwdriver to make the holes




With the ruler and the cutter "draw" some geometrical forms. I've used again the nail file to make this line smoother.

Use the cutter to "draw" some geometrical forms





Mix watercolor with a bit of gouache and paint the earrings.

Mix watercolor with a bit of gouache and paint the earrings

Mix watercolor with a bit of gouache and paint the earrings


Use the round nose pliers to attach the jump rings and the earring hook.

Use the round nose pliers to attach the jump rings and the earring hook

Use the round nose pliers to attach the jump rings and the earring hook


Enjoy!

Upcycled Treasures

Last but not least: with this project I'm participating in this week's The Makers link party. A couple of weeks ago, Alexis, one of the hosts, stopped by and commented on my flower pot project, letting me know about the link party she's hosting. I promised I would join soon and I finally decided to do so. Don't miss it!





11 comments:

  1. Maria, these are awesome!!! I love the necklace and fox earrings, they are so cute and super trendy!! Great tutorial!! :)

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    Replies
    1. I'm glad you like them and thanks for stopping by, Brittany! :)

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  2. What an inventive use for those stretcher keys! I always end up throwing mine out. I know what I'll be doing with them now...!

    -Jenni
    www.thecommoncreative.blogspot.ca

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  3. Che idea originale! Sei strabrava Maria, sono bellissimi!

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  4. Wow this is really cute and such an original design!! Love it!!!

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  5. wow all of these look so good. Super Cute :)

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